ST offers ultimate reader's experience to mark 168th birthday

Here is how to live it up: Get behind the wheel of BMW's super-sleek electric cars in Munich, fly to London with your loved one, watch an award-winning Singapore film and enjoy a VIP experience at the Singapore Grand Prix's night race.

Yes, you could be among several lucky Straits Times (ST) readers who will enjoy such treats in the next few months, as part of new initiatives being launched today under the Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) series to reach out to readers and the community.

Today, July 15, marks the 168th anniversary of this newspaper, which was established in 1845 to serve readers in Singapore.

Noting this, ST editor Warren Fernandez said: "July 15 is a special day for all of us in the ST newsroom. We want to be able to share the celebrations with our loyal readers in a special way. So, we have lined up not just one, but several tie-ups with our partners, for a string of exciting events and prizes."

As part of the celebrations, ST is launching a contest to pick a lucky couple who will get to fly to London. Dubbed "Wherever you are", the contest calls on readers to take a photo or video of themselves simply enjoying their lives, such as having a meal, playing a sport or relaxing on holiday.

They stand to win weekly cash prizes of $1,000, with the grand-prize winner getting a trip for two to London, with hotel stay courtesy of the Millennium & Copthorne Hotel.

The "Wherever you are" theme is in line with the paper's quest to bring ST news reports to its readers on various multimedia platforms: in print, online and via tablets or phones. It also showcases six veteran ST journalists out in the field covering a range of topics readers are most interested in, such as food, movies, travel, money, transport and sport.

Mr Fernandez said: "Our reporters are out in the field wherever you are, and we will bring you the news wherever you are."

In addition to the contest, ST has roped in its partners to give readers some "money-can't-buy" access to upcoming major events.

On Aug 21, 80 readers will be among the first in Singapore to get a sneak peek of BMW's i3 pre- production and i8 concept cars, which were featured in the Tom Cruise action flick Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol. They will be invited to an exclusive marquee event at Ion Orchard for the opening night of a five-night showcase.

At the event, one ST reader will be picked to win a trip for two to Munich, where they will get to take the BMW i-cars for a spin.

On the same night, ST will partner Golden Village to screen an exclusive preview of Singaporean Anthony Chen's Ilo Ilo, winner of the best debut feature film at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in May. Some 100 readers will win a pair of passes each to catch the film, followed by a chance to meet the director and discuss his film, before it opens to the public on Aug 29.

A month later, the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will be at the Singapore Grand Prix, when the F1 night race roars into town from Sept 20 to 22.

One ST reader will be named the F1 Ultimate Fan and win a pair of tickets to the Paddock Club to watch all F1 races from up close, as well as rub shoulders with the drivers and get their autographs. The winner will also get to enjoy performances by mega stars like Rihanna, The Killers, Tom Jones and Korean group Big Bang.

As for fans of Justin Bieber, or Beliebers, there is a special treat: One lucky ST reader will be picked to attend an exclusive meet-and-greet session with the star and watch his F1 closing concert on Sept 23 at the Padang.

Mr Michael Roche, executive director of Singapore GP, said of the tie-up: "We are thrilled for this year's edition of the September race to collaborate further by engaging ST readers with cross-over editorial, advertorial, competitions and supplements to bring greater insights into the breadth and depth of this iconic event."